Cricket Crackers with Seaweed

Early on in my internship at Grub Kitchen, head chef Andy told me to think about a dish to create for the restaurant using crickets. I had all sorts of elaborate menus and recipes in mind, but when he found out that I had been in charge of making crackers for the CNM Natural Chef exam, he jumped on the idea as he’d been thinking of creating a cricket cracker anyway.

It was good timing for me too because ages ago I was sent some Crobars and cricket flour to review, which I’d never gotten round to doing because I didn’t really have much inspiration of what to do with the cricket flour. Obviously, after the internship I’ve got a much better idea about what you can do with cricket flour. Andy also suggested adding purple dulse, which had been gathered on the beaches of St Davids by a friend; I didn’t need asking twice. I’ve read a lot about how good seaweed is for you but I am not very good at making a habit of adding it to my food regularly.

The recipe I used for the exam crackers was a gluten-free one based on the wonderful hazelnut pastry in Henrietta Inman‘s fantastic book Clean Cakes. For the cricket crackers, I substituted around 30% of the total flour quantity with cricket flour, reducing the nut meal by around half as crickets have quite a nutty flavour already.

Much like liver and seaweed, I can foresee a time when I do my best to add insects into my cooking to increase the protein or nutritional quality of the meal. At the moment it’s not a very cheap ingredient, nor is it that easy to buy (you can’t get it at my local Tesco for instance…) so it’s unlikely to be anything more than a novelty for me now but hopefully this will change, as I think they are an important part of our future as a solution to food availability issues.

Ingredients

  • 60g cricket flour
  • 30g almond flour
  • 95g buckwheat flour
  • 12.5g (1.5 tbsp) arrowroot
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt, divided
  • 50g olive oil
  • 4–6 tbsp cold water
  • Sprinkle of purple dulse
  • Sprinkle of whole crickets or spices (e.g. nigella or cumin seeds)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C; line two baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Place the cricket flour, almond flour, buckwheat flour, arrowroot and ½ tsp salt and pulse to combine.
  3. Pour the olive oil into the food processor and pulse again to combine.
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of water to start with and mix until everything comes together into a ball; you may need to add a couple more tablespoons to get the right texture.
  5. Roll out the dough until very thin, sprinkle ½ tsp salt, the purple dulse and the crickets (or spices) over the crackers, and gently roll over again with the rolling pin to press the seasoning in.
  6. Using a large cookie cutter, stamp out as many crackers as possible from the dough (or cut the dough into squares or triangles using a sharp knife) and transfer to baking tray.
  7. Cook for 10–15 minutes; check the crackers are browned underneath. Cool on trays.
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